Eugene Oneill

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

O’neill, Eugene


Born Oct. 16, 1888, in New York; died Nov. 27, 1953, in Boston. American playwright.

O’Neill attended Catholic schools and a nonsectarian academy. In 1906 he entered Princeton University but left after a year. He worked as a seaman, and he was a reporter for a small-town newspaper. In 1914–15 he studied drama at Harvard University. He began his literary career as a poet. O’Neill’s first theatrical endeavors (the collection Thirst and Other One-Act Plays, 1914) were performed by an experimental theater in Provincetown, Mass. The psychological play Beyond the Horizon (1920, staged 1920; Pulitzer Prize) raised the problem of the tragic conflict between fantasy and reality.

O’Neill wrote a number of plays in an expressionistic style. The Hairy Ape (1922; Russian translation, 1925) is about the dehumanization of the individual in capitalist society, and All God’s Chillun Got Wings (written and staged in 1924; Russian translation, Negr [The Negro], 1930), a psychological drama, was one of the first American plays to draw attention to racial problems. Desire Under the Elms (written and staged in 1925; Russian translation, 1927) is a variation on the classic tragedy of property. Also written in an expressionistic style is Marco Millions (1927, staged 1928), a criticism of bourgeois civilization. During the 1920’s, O’Neill’s plays were staged in the USSR.

Toward the end of the 1920’s a crisis emerged in O’Neill’s creative work (the play Strange Interlude, 1928, which is marked by the writer’s interest in Freudian psychoanalysis). Among the later plays are Dynamo (1929), Days Without End (1934), and The Iceman Cometh (1939, published 1946). In 1934, O’Neill began work on a dramatic saga, A Tale of Possessors Self-dispossessed, which he conceptualized as an 11-play cycle covering life in America from 1775 to 1932. A few months before his death he destroyed the manuscripts of six of these plays. The most important of his autobiographical plays are A Moon for the Misbegotten (1942; published 1945; staged 1957) and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1941; staged 1956). Characteristic of O’Neill’s style is realism combined with naturalism and expressionism. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1936.


The Plays, vols. 1–3. New York, 1934.
Ah, Wilderness! … [Harmondsworth, 1966].
In Russian translation:
Zoloto. Moscow, 1928.
P’esy, vols. 1–2. [Moscow, 1971.]


Startsev, A. “Neizvestnaia p’esa Iu. O’Nila.” In Inostrannaia literatura, 1956, no. 11.
Zlobin, G.“Liudi, obokravshie samikh sebia.” Ibid., 1965, no. 7.
Gelb, A., and B. Gelb. O’Neill. New York [1962].
Sheaffer, L. O’Neill, Son and Playwright. Boston-Toronto [1968].
Törnqvist, E. A Drama of Souls. New Haven-London, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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When Eugene O'Neill and Mae West weren't being chastened by the purity police, they found time to enjoy the speakeasies, bookshops, restaurants, and theatres in Greenwich Village.
Unless, that is, the information provided by Brooks Atkinson, the drama critic and friend of Eugene O'Neill, is accurate when he asserts, in 1933 (well before the playwright wrote Long Day's Journey Into Night), that James O'Neill had "owned a good deal of property" in New London, "including the Monte Cristo garage, which was the local agency for the Buick car" ("O'Neill Off Duty," NY Times, Oct.
Eugene O'Neill's marriage from 1918-1929 to his second wife, Agnes Boulton, spanned the author's period of emergence as the first American playwright of international reputation.
"The Theatre We Worked For": The Letters of Eugene O'Neill to Kenneth Macgowan.
Dolan never mentions Eugene O'Neill in The Feminist Spectator, but her argument surely resonates among his feminist critics.
Playwrights from Eugene O'Neill to Samuel Beckett have written plays that invited--demanded, in some cases--directorial experimentation.
His play, "Brother Jones," was a finalist for the 2004 Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Conn., a finalist for the 2004 Northwest Playwrights Competition, and was selected for the 2004 Shenandoah International Playwrights Conference.
Richards, who worked at three major the atrical institutions--the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Center, as dean of the Yale School of Drama and as artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre--also helped to shape the careers of other playwrights, including August Wilson.
Her behaviour would no doubt have I horrified Oona's straitlaced Irish father Eugene O'Neill, who refused to speak to his 1 daughter after she took up with Chaplin.
Richards served as Dean of the Drama School at Yale University and as Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre from 1979 to 1991; he also served as Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theatre Center from 1968 to 1999.
Richardson was nominated for a Tony Award in 1993 for her work in the Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie.
Whether in prison like Francois Villon, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nelson Mandela, Saro-Wiwa, Reinaldo Arenas and Dietrich Bonhoeffer or in a hospital like Frieda Kahlo and Eugene O'Neill, these writers ended up feeding on their misfortunes to produce great creative works.